Not the usual way for police to make extra $$$...
at least not the one you generally hear about...but we noticed on more than one occasion here on the sidewalks around Constitution Sq, cops would turn organ grinder sans monkey and put out a hat in hand, as if people would really drop any spare coins in?! Thankfully, this gesture was always met with the same response.
Foreign vs. national business
People in Mexico usually go crazy when a new & fashionable business opens - be it a shop, restaurant, etc. - especially if it comes from abroad. In the last years we have been invaded by businesses such as Starbucks Coffee, Krispy Kreme (donuts), Popeye's (seafood & chicken), Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, etc., which people flock to because they feel those are the places to be. Visiting a new foreign business makes people feel like they're "IN", even though the Mexican average economy cannot afford to pay the high prices of the products sold there. Just as an example: a small fancy donut sold at Krispy Kreme will cost you over $1.20 USD ($15 mexican pesos), while a bigger donut - perhaps not so fancy - will cost you less than half a dollar elsewhere ($5-6 MX pesos). Same happens with the coffee and many other goods sold in foreign businesses as opposed to national businesses.
This is due to a cultural feature many - if not most - Mexicans have: they prefer foreign stuff over national stuff. They think the quality of the foreign products is better, the locals/sites themselves are more fashionable if they belong to a foreign company, and buying something at an "international shop" gives them some kind of higher status. This is very sad because, as good as these places & products might be (and I do love Starbucks coffee and Krispy Kreme donuts), the national companies also need support from the local customers and they also offer good - and quite cheaper - products in most cases, so there shouldn't be any reason for people to prefer the foreign companies and despise the national ones.
Please read next tip (part 2)!!
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- Budget Travel
Mexico is onbe of the places in this world where i have seenthe most political demonstrations.
I don´t think i have ever spend a day in Mexico City without seeing one.
I´m generally quite happy to see them though as there are lot´s of countries around the world where such a thing is not allowed and it´s good to see that people are active even if you might not agree with what they protest for or against.
- Road Trip
El Quince Anos
When a girl turns fifteen years old, her parents will often throw her a party called "el quince anos." VTer Laura_Mexico and I were walking by this small chapel in Coyoacan when we noticed this Quince Anos celebration taking place. The girl's family was all gathered around and dressed up for the event. Laura told me that the event marks the girl's entrance into womanhood and is great family celebration.
When living in Canada and traveling in Japan and China, I realize that in some cultures aren't used of the 'art' of hugging. For all those who haven't been in my country before, it's customary for us Mexicans geeting a friend with a hug; if somebody gives you a hug, proves that he/she is happy to see you. Let me tell you a brief story:
At the turn of the XX century, during the Mexican Revolution, it was customary to discretly search people when meeting them, just to make sure that they were not carrying any guns that could create problems, and that was done by giving them a hug, then, as time passed by, people stopped carrying guns, but the practice stayed on and now instead of searching for guns, we try to show our affection to our friends.
The harmonipan players in Mexico City are an institution and even if the sound is pretty awful then i totally love them and give them a few coins whenever they are there.
It´s a tradition that was quite big in Europe a few decades ago, but has now died out, so it´s nice to see that it´s still alive and well in Mexico City.
- Arts and Culture
People of all ages made the arduous climb,
some holding children, others carrying flowers. A band played played the whole way up, and men dressed in traditional Indian customes, including a flat, round with painted rings that reminded me of something you'd
shoot arrows into-danced and shook maracas.
On top of the peak, under the watchful eyes of statues of Pancho Villa and two other heroes of a battle fought here during the Mexican revolution, a priest blessed the spent group.
As any other country, we celebrate our Independence day! it takes place on September 15th. If you get to visit us during that day and if you like adventure, go to Zocalo! It is REALLY crowded and you might have a flour-filled egg crashed in your head or covered with foam but it's really funny. At 11:00 our president comes out from the Palacio Nacional building with the Mexican flag to ring a bell and repeats Father Hidalgo's words when he proclamed our independence. Otherwise, to avoid that, I recommend you to go to a Mexican restaurant to watch the "grito" on TV and celebrate as a local in a very Mexican atmosphere.
The next day, September 16, a military parade starts in the Zócalo and ends at the Paseo de la Reforma.
If you give to hear this melody to any Russian he will tell you that this melody is out of the famouse Soviet film-comedy.
The music of "La Adelita" was adapted (without greater changes as a main theme of whole picture) by Izaak Osipovich Dunayewskiy, who wrote the songs for one of the best known soviet comedies "Vesolye rebiata" (1934). The soviet composer never mentioned the origins of his song.
You can compare these two songs (Leonid Utesov/Jorge Negrete) when watching my video.
Leon Trotsky in Mexico
Leon Trotsky was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army.
Leon Trotsky lived in the Coyoacán area of Mexico City at the home (The Blue House) of the painter Diego Rivera and Rivera's wife and fellow painter, Frida Kahlo (with whom he had an affair).
On 20 August 1940, Trotsky was attacked in his home in Mexico with an ice axe by undercover NKVD agent Ramón Mercader.
Leon Trotsky's grave in Coyoacán, where his ashes are buried.
We watched a film about Leon Trotsky and Frida Kahlo in a bus in a way to Teotihuacan.
- Historical Travel
A good website for.... Part 2
... Continued from "A good website for expatriates & visitors" tip.
As I was saying, Mexican cuisine and the crime situation in Mexico City are only 2 of the many aspects about which people are misinformed abroad. They come to find out the truth only when they have the chance of experiencing "the real thing" by spending a few days in Mexico. But there are many people who do not have such chance and they continue to believe a bunch of things which are not true. So I think you might find a few useful tips on this site which may help you start finding out what THE REAL Mexico is like --- at least the info I've found here so far has turned out to be trustworthy. As usual: don't believe everything you read/hear, but at least from my quick surfing I found this site to be quite impartial and objective in their assessments and the information they provide, very much like VT. So I think you can have a pretty good idea of what things are like in Mexico from visiting it.
Good luck when traveling to our beautiful country! Enjoy your stay!!
- Food and Dining
- Work Abroad
- Study Abroad
Maybe this should be a warning, really...
so I tell you, Beware the Scary Tree Man! I saw this one from the safety of our official yellow cab, mind you, but his terrifying image could be anywhere in town. Those gnashing teeth remind me of the killer clown in Stephen King's "It." Brrrrr. His jaunty beret however, I don't know, maybe he's a revolutionary scary tree man?
duality of Mexico
Right next to the chapel is the terminus of one of the city's main tourist attractions, a cable car that runs from downtown to the peak.
It was an odd juxtaposition of "ologies":
theology and technology. One advocating the hard road up, the other delivering the easy path. It's another version of the duality of Mexico I saw throughout the trip, a duality that adds layers of interest and many more shades of colors.
- Historical Travel
Day of the dead
On November 1st and 2nd we celebrate the Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos. The 1st of November is also called All Saints' Day and is remembrance for the children who have died. The 2nd of November is also called All Souls' Day is remembrance for the adults that have died.
Mexican families put an altar in their houses with the food, drinks and the stuff that the dead relative liked when alive.
A common symbol of this day is the sugar skull (or calaverita in Spanish), which the name of any relative, dead or alive, is inscribed on its forehead. Sugar skulls are gifts that can be given to both the living and the dead. Other holiday foods include pan de muerto, a sweet egg bread made in various shapes, from plain rounds to skulls and rabbits often decorated with white frosting to look like twisted bones.
Many activities take place in celebration of the Day of the Dead like the ones in Coyoacan or Mixquic but they may vary from town to town.
In front of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia there is a daily demonstration of Voladores, an ancient tradition of "flying" dance. The dancers hang from ropes that are wrapped around a pole then let go to send themselves flying around the pole until the ropes fully unwind.
- Arts and Culture
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